CHICAGO – July 27, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn was joined by Senator Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to host Midwest Governors and rail executives at the Midwest High Speed Rail Summit. The Governors today announced an agreement between the eight states to work cooperatively to achieve funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to develop the Midwest corridor.
“We are stronger working as a region than we are individually, and I want to thank the other Midwest Governors for their cooperation and commitment,” said Governor Quinn. “We are determined to take full advantage of federal recovery funds and bring high speed rail to Illinois and the Midwest. Today’s agreement will help make our vision a reality.”
Governors attending the summit included: Iowa Governor Chet Culver; Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle; Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. Eight Midwest states signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Mayor Daley also signed the MOU on behalf of the City of Chicago.
“A nationwide network of high speed rail with Chicago as hub is a vital component of the new economy that will emerge from this recession. High speed rail will help us in the challenging task of bringing new businesses, new industries and new opportunities to our region to create new jobs, not just replace those that have already been lost,” Chicago Mayor Daley said.
The MOU is designed to coordinate each state’s individual applications to the Federal Railroad Administration for ARRA funding to develop the Chicago Hub High Speed Rail Corridor (also known as the Midwest corridor). The Midwest corridor will connect cities throughout the region with frequent and reliable high speed and conventional intercity rail service.
“We can make high speed rail a reality in Illinois and the Midwest,” U.S. Senator Durbin said. “I want our region to continue to lead the nation in preparing for a high speed rail network. This network will create jobs, ease traffic congestion and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”
Participant States agree upon, support and understand the importance of a nationwide network including a Chicago Hub that would connect trains traveling up to 110 miles per hour serving cities across the region, along with connections to adjoining regional corridors. This plan reflects the vision of President Barack Obama and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In addition, the participants agreed to establish a multi-state steering group to coordinate the region’s work associated with all ARRA applications. The steering group will provide a single voice in support of the region’s collective high speed rail priorities. (Full Copy of the MOU)
Other state and rail participants included: Ron Adams, Director, Bureau of Railroads and Harbors Department of Transportation State of Wisconsin; Tom Carper, Chairman, Board of Directors, Amtrak; John Friedmann, Vice President, Norfolk Southern Corporation; Daniel Hall, Legislative Director, Department of Transportation, State of Missouri; Edward Hamberger, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Railroads; Tony Ingram, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CSX Transportation; Kevin McIntosh. Assistant Vice President, State and Local Affairs Kansas City Southern Railway Company; Leigh Morris, Deputy Commissioner, Tollroads Department of Transportation, State of Indiana; Roger Nober, Executive Vice President, Law, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway; Karen Phillips, Vice President, North American Government Affairs, Canadian National Railway Company; Thomas Sorel, Commissioner, Department of Transportation, State of Minnesota; and Jim Young, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Union Pacific Railroad.
Under ARRA, President Obama has made $8 billion available nationwide for high speed passenger rail, the largest investment that the federal government has made in over a decade.
The American Association of Railroads estimate that every dollar spent on investments in our nation’s railroads — tracks, equipment, locomotives, bridges — yields $3 in economic output. In addition, each $1 billion of rail investment creates 20,000 jobs.